# 2C: One in a Million. Part 1: Making solutions. Name: Section: Date: Materials

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1 Name: Section: Date: 2C: One in a Million Drinking water can contain up to 1.3 parts per million (ppm) of copper and still be considered safe. What does parts per million mean? Both living things and the environment can be greatly affected by small concentrations of certain substances. Sometimes the amounts are so small that we use parts per million (ppm) or parts per billion (ppb) to describe them. For example, fish live by extracting oxygen dissolved in water. Fresh water bass thrive when the concentration of dissolved oxygen is above 4 ppm. By releasing even very small amounts of hazardous substances, we affect the environment and sustainability. We can protect the environment by not releasing hazardous substances and by using various technologies to monitor environmental quality. In this activity, you will make solutions and measure concentrations in parts per million to understand the techniques and the skills used by scientists to monitor our environment. Materials Five clean cuvettes Four 30 ml test tubes Cuvette rack Red food coloring Tap water 1 ml and 3 ml pipettes Lab-Master system Part 1: Making solutions 1. Using the 1 ml pipette, add 1 ml of red food coloring to test tube #1. 2. Add 9 ml of water to the test tube. 3. Take 1 ml of solution from test tube #1 and put it in test tube #2. (If you use the same pipette, make sure to clean it well before reusing it.) 4. Add 9 ml of water to the test tube #2. 5. Take 1 ml of solution from test tube #2 and put it in test tube #3. 6. Add 9 ml of water to test tube #3. 7. Now take 1 ml of solution from test tube #3 and put it in test tube #4. 8. Add 9 ml of water to test tube #4. A NATURAL APPROACH TO CHEMISTRY SL-NAC-2C5B 17

2 Investigation 2C: One in a Million Part 2: Doing the math Each of the test tubes has a different concentration of red dye. In this step, you will calculate the concentration of dye in each one. a. First, calculate the concentration of the first. This is the solution that we made by mixing 1 ml of red food coloring with 9 ml of water. b. Next, calculate the concentration of dye in solutions #2, #3, and #4. c. Finally, calculate the concentration of each solution in parts per million (ppm). In this formula, we use a decimal number for the concentration of the dye (for example, a 10% concentration of dye is written as 0.1). If we were to use a percent concentration number, like 10 instead of 10%, we must replace 1,000,000 by 10,000. This can be confusing. It is preferable to use a decimal number, since it is related directly to parts per million by the presence of the million in the equation. TABLE 1. Concentration data Solution # Concentration of dye (%) Concentration (ppm) A NATURAL APPROACH TO CHEMISTRY

3 Investigation 2C: One in a Million Part 3: Measuring concentration using the Lab-Master For many scientific experiments, the human eye is not reliable enough to make an objective measurement. For the next part of the experiment you will use the spectrophotometer in the Lab-Master to measure the absorption of the colored solutions. 1. Put about 3 ml of clear tap water in a cuvette. Put the cuvette in the spectrophotometer. Activate the spectrophotometer and press Reference. 2. Put 3 ml of solution #1 in a cuvette, put it in the spectrophotometer, and press Measure. 3. Record spectrophotometer RGB absorbance readings along with the concentration data from Table 1 in Table 2. TABLE 2: Spectrophotometer data Cuvette # Concentration Concentration (%) (ppm) Spectrophotometer absorbance R G B Repeat Steps 2 and 3 for solutions #2, #3, and #4. Part 4: Observations a. What can you say about the appearance of the four cuvettes? How do they compare to each other? Which is the lightest? Which is the darkest? Do any appear the same? Give two or three sentences. b. Do your observations agree with what you expected? Part 5: Thinking about what you observed a. What does the spectrophotometer measure? b. c. How low of a concentration of dye is visible to the eye? This is called the limit of detection by eye. How low of a concentration of dye is detectable to the spectrophotometer? What is the limit of detection by this instrument? A NATURAL APPROACH TO CHEMISTRY 19

4 Investigation 2C: One in a Million Part 6: Plotting the data Plot your data on the chart provided below. This chart scales the horizontal axis by powers of 10 so you can fit a wide range of values and still be able to see differences. On ordinary graph paper, a scale that would fit values between 100 and 100,000 would not be able to show the difference between 1,000 and 2,000. Part 7: Finding the concentration of an unknown solution 1. Get a sample of a solution with an unknown concentration from your instructor. 2. Measure the RGB absorption values for the unknown solution: R = G = B = 3. Use the graph you created to determine the concentration of the unknown solution in ppm. Part 8: Thinking about the experiment a. What range of concentration can you measure with the technique you just used? Your answer should give both a lowest and a highest concentration that you think you could measure. b. Do you think you could tell the difference between concentrations of 0.05% and 0.07%? Why or why not? c. Can you tell the difference between concentrations of 0.055% and 0.057%? 20 A NATURAL APPROACH TO CHEMISTRY

5 Name: Section: Date: 5B: Spectrophotometry How is color measured? Color is an important part of life and chemistry. Dyes are chemicals that create color by absorbing light. If it seems odd that you can create color by taking away light, do this investigation and you will be surprised! Materials Five clean cuvettes Four different types of food coloring (red, green, blue, and yellow) Tap water Cuvette stand Lab-Master Four 25 mm test tubes 3 ml pipettes Part 1: Preparation of solutions 1. Put 1 drop of each food coloring in each test tube. 2. Add 10 ml of water to each test tube and mix. 3. Using the pipette, take 3 ml of each solution and put it in the cuvettes. You should have four cuvettes, each with a different color. 4. Now put 3 ml of water in the fifth cuvette. This cuvette will be used as a reference in your measurements. Part 2: Absorption and color 1. Activate the spectrophotometer of your Lab-Master by pressing the RGB button. 2. Use the clear cuvette and the Reference button to calibrate the spectrophotometer. 3. Measure the RGB values for each cuvette, including the clear reference cuvette and record your data in Table 1 under the 1 drop of color column. A NATURAL APPROACH TO CHEMISTRY 49

6 Investigation 5B: Spectrophotometry Table 1: Spectrophotometer data in absorbance units (AU) Cuvette 1 drop of color 2 drops of color 3 drops of color R G B R G B R G B Red Green Blue Yellow Clear Part 3: Increasing the concentration We will now increase the concentration of the colors in the solutions. 1. Discard the solutions in the test tubes and the cuvettes. 2. Rinse the test tubes, cuvettes, and pipettes with clean water. 3. Add 2 drops of each food coloring to each test tube. 4. Repeat Steps 2 4 of Part Take absorption measurements of the new solutions by repeating the steps in Part Record your data in Table 1 under the 2 drops of color column. 7. Repeat the entire procedure once more by adding 3 drops of food color in the test tubes. Record the data in Table 1 under the 3 drops of color column. Part 4: Things to think about a. Explain what the values of R, G, and B mean in terms of the energy of light. b. Is white light a color, or is white light a mixture of all colors? How do you know? How can you test this? c. Explain the diagram on the right. How is the color green produced? d. Which color was absorbed most strongly by the yellow dye? Which colors were transmitted more? Why do you think so? e. Make a graph showing how absorption changes with one, two, and three drops of food coloring. You can plot all four colors on the same graph.you can either do this by hand on graph paper or by using the SD card in the Lab-Master and graphing the results on the computer. f. What does the absorbance of R, G, and B tell us about the way the yellow color in our experiment is made? g. What do you notice about the way that the R, G, and B absorbance values change for each solution? Do the dye molecules in food color absorb a single color of light or a range of colors? How do you know? h. Research the way color books and magazines are printed. Explain the acronym CMYK. Why do printers use CMYK color instead of RGB? 50 A NATURAL APPROACH TO CHEMISTRY

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